Daniel Carrigy’s 2017 NFL Mock Draft: Round 1

Apr 28, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announces the number one overall pick in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft at Auditorium Theatre. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 28, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announces the number one overall pick in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft at Auditorium Theatre. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports /
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It’s fair to say that wherever Peppers goes, people will bemoan that he went too early, whilst others will be ecstatic that he “fell” to them. The Redskins drastically need to add their pieces to their defense. The ‘skins did add D.J. Swearinger in free agency but he isn’t exactly a superb long term answer. Peppers’ versatility allows the skins some flexibility in their defensive approach whilst still adding a playmaker.

I will go on record in saying that I love Peppers. Is he a top ten pick? I don’t think so. I suspect many don’t know themselves. Here’s what I do know, Peppers is an athletic son of a gun. He’s excelled at safety, linebacker and running back/return specialist.

I don’t see any team seriously considering him on offense, and his most natural fit is at safety. He bursts through the gaps against the run and has good speed in coverage and can shadow tight ends well. Peppers is a great blitzer, but his instincts leave something to be desired. Still somewhat of a raw prospect, with the right coaching, Peppers could be a star.

35. . Cornerback. Alabama. Marlon Humphrey. 18. player

If the Titans go wide receiver with pick no. 5, they’ll go cornerback here and vice versa.

Humphrey exhibits prototypical size and speed with drool worthy agility at the cornerback position. His athleticism assists him every blue moon to make up for any mistakes in coverage, but that aside, Humphrey is a corner that is a physical force against the man opposite him.

Humphrey always looks for an opportunity to get the ball back for his team, forcing three fumbles in his last season. A corner well versed in multiple coverages and well coached by Nick Saban’s staff, Humphrey would be a tremendous addition to the Titans.

That said, Humphrey’s failings are found often in sloppy feet and a below average ability to locate the deep ball in the air, but he still shows great promise as a first round pick.

Taco Charlton. 19. player. 48. . Defensive End. Michigan

The Bucs could stand to use some help along their defensive front, having added to their offensive in free agency with the likes of DeSean Jackson.

Charlton is a tall and athletic edge rusher, adept at both speed and power with effective burst. A flexible man on the perimeter with great hips and bend, Charlton possesses an admirable fluidity as a rusher. With great spin and rip moves, Charlton needs to be better against the run if he is to become more than a “good” defender at the next level.

20. player. 45. . Offensive Tackle. Wisconsin. Ryan Ramcyzk

Khalil Mack, Justin Houston, Joey Bosa. Add those divisional headaches to a weak offensive line, and you’re not going to have a very good time. The Broncos need to address their line play early in this draft and Ramcyzk would be a solid addition.

I love the way Ramcyzk pops out of his stance off the snap. He has great bend and knees at the tackle position. A tackle who loves to punch into his man, Ramcyzk is a very technical blocker at 6’6″, 310 pounds. Great athleticism, footwork and awareness, I really like this tackle out of Wisconsin.

50. . Defensive End. Missouri. Charles Harris. 21. player

One of the Lions’ main needs coming into this draft is an upgrade to the pass rush. Bookending Harris with Ezekiel Ansah would immediately bolster their pass rushing capabilities.

Harris’ measurables and combine stats don’t exactly jump out at you, but he’s a reliable option for Detroit at this point. That said, Harris plays with a great motor, is an energetic lineman that can move laterally across the line of scrimmage and has great pop out of his stance when the ball is snapped. He did demonstrate that he could be called upon in coverage which is an added bonus.

Wisconsin. T.J. Watt. 22. player. 59. . Linebacker

It’s unfair to compare T.J. to his older brother J.J. You know, three-time defensive MVP of the league? Whilst they added Lawrence Timmons in free agency, their linebacker woes are far from over. T.J would give them young blood to install into their linebacking corps for the future. Cornerback could also be an option, but I like Watt in this instance.

T.J. boasted an impressive stat line in his final season with the badgers, and his only full season at linebacker. 63 tackles, 15.5 for loss and 11.5 sacks. Watt boasts exceptional hands as an outside linebacker, extends his arms well, pushing and pulling his man, Watt can disengage easily and like his older brother, isn’t afraid to bat down a ball at the line of scrimmage. His knee injuries could be a concern and he needs to add more power to his game, but Watt is on the up.

Utah. Garett Bolles. 23. player. 31. . Offensive Tackle

Ereck Flowers has been a dissapointment at left tackle. With Manning now at 36, the Giants need to invest in protecting him, having boasted an improved defense and the addition of Brandon Marshall to his weapons.

Bolles would make the resurgent Giants that much stronger. While he’s only a one year starter, like Ramcyzk, Bolles has great bend as a pass protector and anchors the blind side well. He is damn athletic with top notch footwork, but he isn’t afraid of getting nasty in the trenches. If he can add to his frame and work on sustaining his blocks he’ll go far.

28. . Linebacker. Vanderbilt. Zach Cunningham. 24. player

Here it is. The one you’ve been waiting for. With the 24th pick of the 2017 NFL Draft, the Oakland Raiders select: Zach Cunningham, linebacker, Vanderbilt.

The Raiders first round selection will most likely be a linebacker, cornerback or offensive tackle. Some feel like it could also be a safety, but linebacker for me, makes the most sense here for several reasons.

Firstly, the Raiders looked to address the position in free agency, signing Jelani Jenkins and flirting with the possibility of Zach Brown. Jenkins is really a backup, and their brief dalliance with Brown demonstrates that the front office wants more. The position is still far from a sure thing.

Whilst the secondary needs work, in both the cornerback and safety position, I don’t think Mckenzie reaches for a safety at this point with Nelson still on the books. Furthermore, with the money already invested in Amerson and Sean Smith, I think the earliest the Raiders go cornerback is round two. Lastly, tackle is nowhere near a concern as the defensive side of the ball is. For these reasons, I think the Raiders go with Zach Cunningham from Vanderbilt.

Cunningham is a beast of a  linebacker, with high energy and a knack for making plays. When Vandy upset Georgia, Cunningham posted a staggering nineteen tackles and one hell of a goal line stop. He’s a fast paced tackling machine that can shoot the gap in a hurry and rack up tackles for loss. Cunningham is a magnet to the ball and has shown he can handle man cover responsibilities against backs and tight ends.

If Cunningham can add to his somewhat wiry frame and cut down on the odd missed tackle, he’ll be a stalwart in the black hole for years to come.

One final note, however. Something tells me McCaffrey could be an option here. I think it greatly depends on how likely Marshawn Lynch is to play this season, whether the Raiders decide they definitely want him, and more importantly,what they think they’re getting. If those talks stall and McCaffrey is on the board, it could very well be him.

That said, imagine a Raiders offense with Carr, Cooper, Crabtree, Cook (Jared), Lynch and McCaffrey. Drool worthy.